Energy Saving Tips
Summer has set in and the brutal hot weather is definitely on the way for South Texas. The unsightly temperatures and extreme heat are something that you need to be aware of and prepare for this summer. As the temperatures rise, your energy bill will likely do the same. There are precautionary measures that you can take to make sure you stay cool and likewise, keep your energy bill cool.
ENERGY STAR ®, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, serves the mission of helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. ENERGY STAR ® developed a list of questions beneficial for any household or apartment when it comes to preparation for the hot months ahead.
Have you changed your air filter in the past three months?
It is advised that you change your filter at least every three months in non-peak months to improve airflow and air quality. In peak months, like summertime in San Antonio, it is advised you change your filter once a month. Have you removed leaves, dirt and other debris from around the outdoor components of your air conditioning system? Getting rid of leaves, debris and trash from around the outside component of your heating and air conditioning system can help improve the performance of your system. Have you installed a programmable thermostat and programmed it properly? If used correctly, a programmable thermostat can help you save $180 every year.
When was the last time you inspected your duct system for obvious signs of leaks and disconnects?
Having your air ducts sealed and your attic properly insulated can improve your air conditioning system's efficiency by 20 percent.
When was the last time you had your heating and air conditioning equipment inspected?
Your air conditioning and heating system should be tuned twice a year - once in the spring and once in the fall. This will keep it operating efficiently during peak times. You can lower your energy bills and help save the environment at the same time.
After you’ve answered the questions above, consider these tips in order to stay cool and keep a little extra change in your pocket:
- When in doubt, use the microwave: When it comes to cooking, nothing is more energy efficient than your microwave. It uses two-thirds less energy than your stove.
- Keep your hands dry: Your dishwasher uses less water than hand washing dishes. Another way to save a little energy is to let the dishes air dry in your dishwasher.
- A full fridge is a happy fridge: Having the fridge filled with food keeps it from warming up too fast when the door is open. Your fridge won’t have to work as hard to stay cool.
- Charge down: Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they aren't in use. Most new electronics use electricity even when switched "off."
- Turn computers and printers off by way of the power strip.
- Close the curtains: In warmer temperatures, close the curtains or blinds in the heat of the day or throughout the day if you’re not at the house. This tip is important for rooms facing west, because they have enhanced exposure to the afternoon sun.
- Turn it off: Turn off appliances, lights and equipment when not in use.
- Dryer awareness: When you need to use the dryer, run full loads, use the moisture-sensing setting and clean the clothes dryer lint trap after each use.
- Fan yourself: Use ceiling or portable electric fans in occupied rooms to circulate air and make a room feel cooler, but don’t forget to turn off fans when you leave the room. Fans should run in a clockwise direction during the summer for better cooling.
- Going double green: Plant a shade tree next to your outside air conditioning unit. Providing some shade over your air conditioning unit can help it run more efficiently.
The ways you can save are endless. It’s going to be a hot summer, so make sure you are prepared. Talk about it with your family or your roommates so that everyone is on the same page. Energy efficiency helps the environment and it helps your bank account. Be aware of the energy that you can save, and make an effort to conserve. Your air conditioning system and your appliances will thank you.